SIBU: Over 5,000 environmental health officers will be on patrol to ensure full enforcement of the smoking ban at all eateries nationwide, which takes effect today, said Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.

Individuals found puffing away will be issued with a compound on the spot, he stressed.

“But (the compound will be) paid to the local district health office, not to enforcement officers,” he told The Borneo Post when asked on the number of environmental health officers enforcing the ban across the country today.

Additionally, Dr Lee stressed that eatery operators too will be slapped with a compound if found to be encouraging smokers by providing ashtrays at their premises.

In this regard, he urged smokers and eatery operators to cooperate with the Ministry of Health (MoH) towards ensuring the success of the smoking ban.

For the record, it is also an offence under the law if the eateries provide ashtrays within the non-smoking zone, that is, within 10 feet of the eatery’s boundary, and the offender is punishable by a fine of up to RM5,000 or jail of up to one year.

On Dec 20, last year, the MoH announced that smoking and vaping would be strictly prohibited at all food premises across Malaysia from next year.

Dr Lee had said offenders would be slapped with a fine of RM250, but the fine would be reduced to RM150 if settled in less than a month.

He added that offenders who refused to pay may face a fine of up to RM10,000.

The smoking ban was enforced on Jan 1 last year in Peninsular Malaysia while such enforcement in Sabah and Sarawak began from Feb 1 and Mar 1, respectively.

Meanwhile, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Housing Datu Dr Penguang Manggil had said the ban against smoking and vaping at all food premises, effective Jan 1, this year would be fully enforced by the state health department. — TheBorneoPost

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